PET and PET/CT
What is PET and PET/CT?
A PET scan takes an image of your body and provides information about the body's chemistry that is not available with other imaging technologies. PET uses the variation in metabolism rates of cells to show physicians the difference between healthy tissue and unhealthy tissue, or cancerous tissue and scar tissue. Since changes in the way cells function often occur before a physical or structural change can be detected, PET may help your physician make an earlier diagnosis. This can result in faster, more effective treatment and may help to avoid invasive exams or surgeries. A PET/CT scanner combines the PET information with the anatomical data of a Computed Tomography (CT) scan to provide more information to your physicians.
What does a PET scan show?
PET is most commonly used to diagnose cancer and determine how far the cancer has progressed. It is a medical device that can accurately image many organs of the body with a single pass to allow determination of malignancy. It can also provide information to determine whether a primary cancer has metastasized to other parts of the body. PET is particularly helpful to doctors diagnosing and staging cancers such as: breast cancer, colorectal cancer, head and neck cancer, esophageal cancer, lung cancer, lymphona, melanoma, musculoskeletal tumors, ovarian cancer and pancreatic cancer.
PET technology is frequently used for certain cardiology (heart) patients. It is also effective in assessing various neurologic diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Disease as well as for the evaluation of stroke and epilepsy.
How does the procedure work?
Before the procedure begins, a small amount of FDG is administered to the patient. The FDG begins to break down in the body, resulting in the release of energy that is detected by the PET scanner. Different colors or degrees of brightness on a PET image represent different levels of body function. For example, because healthy tissue uses glucose for energy, it accumulates some of the FDG, which will show up as background area on the PET images. Cancerous tissue which uses more glucose than normal tissue, will absorb more of the substance and appear brighter on the PET images.
What to expect
Your doctor will explain what you must do prior to your exam. When you arrive for your scan, the technologist will review your health history and any prior exams. Then, a small amount of FDG, a radioactive sugar tracer, will be injected into your hand or forearm through an IV. The FDG has no side effects and is eliminated from your body primarily through urine.
It takes 45-60 minutes for the tracer to concentrate in tissue so a proper scan can be made. While you wait, you will be asked to remain in a waiting area and limit your activities. In some cases, a bladder catheter may be used. Next, you will be placed on a comfortable table which moves slowly through the scanner. You will need to remain still during the scan. Please plan to spend 2-3 hours with us for the entire procedure.
To schedule your procedure please call our radiology department at 201-858-6572.